MICHAEL DOHERTY’S MUSIC LOG
by Michael Doherty
Alex Martin: “Folk Songs, Jazz Journeys – On his new album, guitarist Alex Martin pays tribute to the folk traditions that influenced his musical career. The songs he chooses to cover here come from different parts of the world. There are also some original compositions on this album, and together they create a musical journey for the listener to go on. Alex Martin opens with one of the original tunes, “Postal De Bata,” a gentle and loving message to his wife, featuring some wonderful work by Uasuf Gueye on balafon. Tyler Sherman is on bass, and Keith Butler Jr. is on drums. That’s followed by “Wayfaring Stranger,” an American folk song. Maya Rogers provides the vocals, her performance deftly combining jazz and gospel styles. Alex Martin delivers some excellent work on guitar, and this track also features a really good lead on bass by Tyler Sherman. Maya Rogers also sings on “Viceversa,” Mario Benedetti’s poem set to music. Alex Martin then turns to a Brazilian song with “Asa Branca,” this one featuring Elin Melgarejo on vocals. Ethan Foote’s work on bass is excellent, and this track also features some wonderful percussion. Deepak Shenoy is on tabla, and Bruno Lucini is on triangle. They both also play on “Triangulo,” an original song which follows “Asa Branca,” and again features Elin Melgarejo on vocals. There is something cheerful about this track, both in that vocal work and in the song’s groove that is really appealing. Keith Butler Jr. gets a chance to cut loose a bit on drums toward the end. And, as is true of all the tracks, it features some excellent work on guitar. Ethan Foote gets “Rue Des Ursulines” off to a very cool start on bass, and the track never loses that great vibe. Then from France, Alex Martin delivers a nice rendition of “Le Temps Des Cerises,” based on a poem by Jean-Baptiste Clement, and featuring a wonderful vocal performance by Lynn Véronneau. That is followed by “I Once Loved A Lass,” which features some beautiful work by Jodi Beder on cello, an instrument I am always happy to hear. Gaby Kerdoncuff plays trumpet on a lively, exciting version of “Laridé,” and the album concludes with another original number, “Estamos Aquí Para Colaborar.” This album was released on March 22, 2021.